Americans are increasingly afraid of autonomous cars, study finds


The Tesla Model S following its recovery from the crash scene near Williston, Florida. - NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD, WIKIMEDIA CREATIVE COMMONS
  • National Transportation Safety Board, Wikimedia Creative Commons
  • The Tesla Model S following its recovery from the crash scene near Williston, Florida.

A new report from AAA finds that an increasing number of Americans do not, for one, welcome our autonomous vehicles overlords.

The study follows a spate of high-profile accidents involving autonomous technology, including an autonomous Uber vehicle which killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz. earlier this year — the first reported fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in the country.

According to AAA's report, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of American drivers say they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle — an increase from 63 percent in 2017. And nearly two-thirds (63 percent) report they would actually feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while walking or riding a bike.

Perhaps surprising, the study found that millennials — that supposedly tech-savvy, smartphone-addicted, and automobile-hating cohort — are the generation most distrustful of the new technology, with the percentage of millennial drivers who report being too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle increasing from 49 percent to 64 percent since 2017.

In 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a package of bills into law that allowed for autonomous vehicles to share the roads with drivers in Michigan, among the most permissive of autonomous technology in the nation. Detroit's Big Three automakers are all at work developing vehicles with autonomous technology.
You can read more about AAA's study here.

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